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Sexual abuse and migrant children: central themes of the Marist report to the United Nations

30/07/2019: Spain

In Spain, between 10% and 20% of the population have suffered sexual abuse during their childhood, yet only 15% of cases are reported to the courts. On the other hand, the number of unaccompanied foreign minors (MENAS) has increased recently: in 2016 the number was 42% higher than in 2015 and 163% higher than in 2014.

These worrying figures are included in the report that the Marist Provinces, with a presence in Spanish territory, have just presented to the United Nations. In this way they contribute to the Universal Periodic Review to which Spain will be subjected in December 2019.

Since last February, the solidarity representatives of the Provinces of Ibérica, Mediterránea, L'Hermitage and Compostela have coordinated in defining the areas of greatest concern, gathering information and preparing recommendations to the Spanish State.

Among these recommendations is the urgent need for legislative reform to address sexual abuse, ensuring prevention in education, improving the judicial system and availability of resources.

Likewise, for the protection of unaccompanied foreign minors, it is recommended to have data that show the real dimension of the problem, to ensure personalised intervention for those who live in protection centres and to guarantee that they have access to the same rights as the rest of the minors in the territory.

The next steps will deal with the incidences before the embassies are in Madrid and before the permanent missions in Geneva.

UPR - PDF in Spanish


Universal Periodic Review - UPR

It is a process carried out by the Human Rights Council (HRC).

It consists of the periodic review of the fulfillment of human rights in each of the member states of the United Nations. This process consists of the following phases:

  1. The State presents the report about human rights in the country;
  2. Exam and Interactive Dialogue between the State under review and the States party to the CHR and the observer States
  3. Adoption of the HRC report – Non-Governmental Organisations can address the State and members of the HRC orally
  4. The last phase involves both the State and NGOs and National Human Rights Institutes interested in implementing the recommendations.

This process constitutes a cycle that lasts four and a half years, so when this period ends the State is again examined by those who make up the HRC.

FMSI has participated in the elaboration of 44 reports, with the cooperation of other NGOs or alone (13 in America, two in Europe, 13 in Africa, nine in Oceania and seven in Asia).

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